Five-star show by Bilawal Bhatti keeps Alfreton Cricket Club on track for promotion

Cricket
Cricket

ALFRETON CC got the better of a tight match against Matlock on Saturday keeping them on course for their promotion push.

After winning the toss, Alfreton decided to bowl first and this immediately paid dividends as both Bilawal Bhatti and Alex Mace (1-34) got early wickets to leave Matlock on 15-2.

The run out of John Aspinall by Mace for 18 left Matlock three down for just 45, but that brought Chris Fletcher to the crease to join Devon Conway.

These two went about rebuilding after the poor start, sharing a 51 run partnership which was only broken by Stuart McRobert as he removed Fletcher for 12.

Bhatti then came back and took the wickets of Steve Pell and Peter Camm in quick succession before McRobert (2-48) removed danger man Conway for 50.

The tail was then mopped up by Bhatti as he worked his way to another 5-wicket haul, finishing with figures of 6-23.

Alfreton would have gone into the chase in high spirits after restricting Matlock to just 115 all out.

However, batting was hard going and Camm (4-39) and Edward Lander (1-16) got the early wickets Matlock needed, removing and James Fletcher.

Graham Bush was then removed by Camm for 23 as Alfreton were finding batting tough against quality bowling.

Captain Mace was next to fall, again to Camm, before Andy Gwatkin and Jake Simpson knuckled down to get Alfreton closer and closer to Matlock’s total.

John Aspinall then got in on the act, removing Simpson for 12 before Camm got his fourth wicket by having Gwatkin caught by Conway for 27.

The further wickets of Bhatti and Jonathan Clarke by Aspinall (3-21) meant a tense finish was in order but a lusty blow from Ben Slater saw Alfreton run out two-wicket victors.

Alfreton are well placed in third in Division One with a game in hand over the top two teams.

Alfreton go on to face struggling Sawley and Long Eaton Park on Saturday before they compete in the cup final against Matlock on Monday.